Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
lwd
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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby lwd » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:00 pm

Fujinami was detached to escort Chokai. In the case of an engagment she'd likely scuttle Chokai sooner but not sure when or if she gets into the battle.

When does the rest of TF 34 show up? Do the US ships just want to slow down the Japanese? or do they have to take them out by themselves?

Canyon.DS

Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Canyon.DS » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:21 pm

this hypothetical battle would have easially gone to the Americans, thanks to their superior fire control systems, and the brilliance of Admiral Kurita. He was overmatched by what he found, and would have behaved no differently if confronted by a Battle line. I do have to wonder what Raizo Tanaka would have done in that circumstances. Certainly he was aggressive enough he would have won the battle that occured, if he had been commanding the Japanese fleet.

lwd
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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby lwd » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:59 pm

Canyon.DS wrote:... the brilliance of Admiral Kurita. He was overmatched by what he found, and would have behaved no differently if confronted by a Battle line.

I'm not at all certain of this. The tactics he used vs Taffey 3 weren't that bad if he had as he though caught up with a batch of fleet carriers. Vs. a battleline I would expect him to revert to Japanese doctrine.
I do have to wonder what Raizo Tanaka would have done in that circumstances. Certainly he was aggressive enough he would have won the battle that occured, if he had been commanding the Japanese fleet.

First you say that superior fire control would allow a US victory then you seem to be saying with a different Japanese commander they would win. That doesn't seem to be consistent to me.

Canyon.DS

Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Canyon.DS » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:38 pm

I give much credit to American technology, which showed itself to be an excellent force multiplier throughout the war. Kurita was like Burnside in the American Civil War. He was able to provide the IJN with a crushing defeat wrenched from the jaws of victory. If he really believed the carriers he saw were fleet carriers, he had to pursue and win. he would have known he would lose if they could get flight operations going, even if he was fleeing. Realistically he had to pursue them, but was turned away by a few escorts, and a few strafing fighters. You cannot excuse this ineptness. I suspect Kurita relized the war was lost, and was simply passing time. As for Tanaka, I point out he stomped the snot out of an American Cruiser force, with only 8 destroyers, laden with supplies and munitions on thier decks, with only half of the ammunition and torpedos he would normally have had at Tassafaronga. The American force consisted of 6 destroyers and 5 cruisers, and at the end of the battle only one cruiser and 4 destroyers were fully capable. He was removed from responsible command because he did not deliver his supplies to Guadalcanal. This short sighted punishment of a commander who just sunk a Heavy Cruiser, and put three others out of action. The Americans had advantages in this battle as some of their ships had excellent radar controlled gunfire. They demonstrated this when they sunk a Japanese destroyer. Tanaka used aggressive maneuvering, and his superb torpedos to his advantage, but had no reloads for the torpedo's so chose not to re-engage to deliver is supplies, which seems like a correct decision to me. In later years he expressed that if he had known the state of the American force he may have attempted another attack, but believed his decision was correct with the information he had at the time. Samuel Elliot Morrison called Tanaka "superb" for his actions in this battle. I e xpect that type of commander may have done very well at leyte as it was fought, and certainly would have done better than Kurita. Kurita had a history of not believing his capabilities and expecting defeat.

I expect he would have had difficulties overcoming American technology, and would not have been able to really effect the landings, but I also believe he could have done significant damage to the American forces. Firstly, he probably would not have turned back in the first approach, and would have pressed on. If he could have attacked at night, he may have been able to partially overcome American advantages with his one outstanding advantage, his torpedos.

I also think you would have had this battle if Ray Spruance or Jack Fletcher had commanded TF 34. Both would have pursued the Japanese carriers after the Centerforce initially turned back, but I expect Spruance would have left his Battleships to cover the landings, and I believe Fletcher may have left a carrier or two as well as Lee's ships. I think the New Jersey would have gone anyway, as it was the Flagship, and appropriately so, as next to the South Dakota, it was the best equipped for that job in the fleet.

Guesser

Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Guesser » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:46 am

What I've read was that TF 34 would have consisted of 4 of the 6 available fast battleships from the 3rd fleet including Washington, Alabama, New Jersey and Iowa along with the cruisers Wichita, New Orleans, Vincens, Miami and Buloxi and 14 DD, As has been stated the inclusion of Halseys flagship seams unlikely but those are the ships I've seen noted in 2 papers. As the Iowas were the only BBs capable of keeping up with the fleet Carriers I would have thought the 4 BBs included in TF 34 would have been Washington, Alabama, Mass, and South Dakota, but I've read nothing to back that up.

With the above fleet against the Center force I think the Kongos would have been made combat ineffective or sunk quickly without inflicting much damage, making it 4 modern US BBs against 1 old BB that had already been hit by 2 bombs and one of the 2 biggest BBs ever built that had already been hit by 2 bombs; and not too long into the fight 4 Modern US BBs against a Yamato that had allready been hit by at least 2 bombs.

Given the resolve displayed by Kurita against Taffey 3 I can't see him standing firm against several times the number of escorts he actually faced along with 5 cruisers and 4 modern battleships; the center force would never have had the chance to move against Taffet 3 had TF 34 been formed.

Guest

Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Guest » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:16 pm

I hate to point this out, but according to admiral lee's operational report, had tf 34 been formed up and left at san bernadino strait, it would have consisted of the battleships iowa, new jersey, Washington, Alabama, Massachusetts, south Dakota, heavy cruisers witchita, new Orleans, light cruisers Biloxi, Miami, mobile, santa fe, Vincennes, with 18 destroyers. at the time of center force's entering san bernadino strait, it had the battleships yamato, nagato, haruna, kongo, with 6 heavy cruisers and 2 light cruisers with 11 destroyers. taking into consideration that the Japanese had been in under submarine and air attacks for 2 days, which left their crews very tired, plus the damage inflicted, would alone have given the u.s. fleet an advantage, plus, except for yamato, all u.s. battleships completely out-classed the Japanese. add in the far superior radar fire control of all u.s. ships, and any realistic look at this possible battle would show the u.s. fleet most likely winning, considering there were 6 new battleships, 2 heavy and 5 light cruisers, and 18 destroyers versus 4 battleships(3 of the old), 6 heavy and 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers. also, task force 34 was in the enviable position of being able to cross the Japanese "t", and considering how good a commander admiral lee was, I am sure that was his plan.

Erok

Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Erok » Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:29 pm

All depends on whether the IJN Cruisers and Destroyers would have been able to launch effective torpedo runs on TF34.

If not then TF34 wins outright by crossing the T and having air support from the Taffy 1,2,and 3.

Guest

Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:12 am

THE ORDER OF BATTLE FOR TF 34 SHOULD INCLUDE THE MASSACHUSETTS AND THE SOUTH DAKOTA, AS WELL AS 2 MORE CL AND A TOTAL OF 23 DEATROYERS. THESE WERE ALL INCLUDED IN THE FLEET PLAN FOR ACTION AS FORMING TF 34 WHEN ORDERED.


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